The Story of Under The Trees


After a successful backyard music party we started to dream to organize a proper festival.  Together with Elke and Craig who have a vast experience playing bands and organising festivals, we started our exiting journey.

We agreed that the BITS sport grounds would make an excellent venue and when Craig suggested having the festival at the car park, under the trees.  I replied: “Great idea and you know what, let’s call it ‘Under The Trees’.” The name was born.

Originally we wanted to keep it simple: Gold coin donations and BYO drinks. But when we received the Major’s Grant, the rule pallet changed. This meant we needed a fair dinkum committee and a fair dinkum plan and a fair dinkum committee.

We engaged  the local stake holders, businesses and artists. Meetings and workshops were organised to create and form our vision. We were all convinced that the festival had to be designed and built by the community.  It had to become a music and arts festival.  It had to be for the community. It was going to be run by volunteers and the festival should not be branded.

The committee:

Luckily local artist Christine Holden loved the idea and she joined and became the Art Director. Chris is an award winning artist and has contributed her artistic talent to many events. Her vision and artistic leadership formed Under The Trees in the last two years to a spectacular feast for the eyes and senses. Christine never cuts corners and always has an eye for detail. With her team she created a fairy land where every object shines but sits within the festivals spirit.

This marvellous scene is completed with the choice of performing artists. Elke Smith (Music Director) has a vast experience in organising concerts and festivals. Her expertise and professionalism makes her a world class programmer. Not only has she eye for detail she has an extra sense. She has the ability to predict the vibe the crowd is going to emerge in.  In her vast network of performing artist she hand picks the right performance for the right moment.

Gavin Ryder (Logistics and Food and Beverage Director) has been a chef most of his life. He is not only an excellent cook he is a Jack of All trades.  Gavin can do literary everything.  He is not only good with his hands he has remarkable brain powers. His calculation capacity is ridiculous and he always wins at trivia nights.  Last but not least he has the perfect personality to lead this very stressful job.

Our Volunteers and Merchandise Director is Cindy Bellini Hogarth. The work she has done to coordinate 120 volunteers is gigantic. Cindy is excellent at her job. Not only has she known all the volunteers by name, she personally made sure that each and every one of them were carefully instructed and made felt welcome. Cindy has an enormous talent and her role is crucial for the success of the festival.

When we received the grant, we learned new concepts such as Event Management Plan and Risk Assessments. Fortunately there was Di Buckthorpe our Event Manager Director. Di is the most resilient person on earth. In the background she follows the processes and makes sure all the paperwork is in order. Her wits, humour and sparkling personality keeps the committee focussed and in line.

Craig Smith is our Logistic and Sound Director.  Craig is not only engineer he is also a very fine guitar player, singer and band leader. His expertise as musician and engineer are essential to forge a festival layout.

Our Lightning Manager is Dan Lambert. Dan is drummer and electrician/ sound engineer. He loves working on light effects and he spent hours and hours creating lights for the festival.  Dan worked in very close relationship with Christine and Darren (see below) to shape the lightning to perfection.

Darren Jeacocke not only helped Dan programming the software for the lighting. Darren is the head of design. He designed our logo and the website.  He makes sure that our posts and printed material is all following the standard. Darren creations formed the Under The Trees Brand.

Last year we were very lucky that Wezzy Cruze arrived on our doorstep.  Wezzy (Media Maker Manager) is a very talented photographer and his pictures of UTT 2017 were the icing on the cake. It changed our presence and perception on social media. It gave Under The Trees the ‘professional’ look and feel.

A committee without a Maxine Brushe, is set up to fail. Maxine has a vast experience in community leadership. She has been a councillor for many years and is part of numerous boards and committees. Her caring and loving personality opens all the doors. She is always able to point into the right direction and talk to the right people at the right time.  She is a highly valued committee member always happy to walk an extra mile.

When I am writing this I once again realise how lucky I am to work with this team of volunteers. Each of you has extraordinary talents and together we have produced a festival of Music and Arts of the highest standard. I am grateful and honoured to work with you.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you!


Gaston Boulanger, Organiser.  October 2018

Rhiannon Cooper